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Home > Diet and Nutrition

Do different types of calories matter?


A calorie is roughly the amount of food energy it takes a 150 pound person to burn over the course of one minute while resting.

Calories come from different sources; mainly carbs, fat, sugar, and protein. They will all have similar effects on your weight, as long as you're eating the same amount of calories.

For example: If you were to eat 1000 calories from a donut, or 1000 calories from broccoli, the increase in your weight should theoretically end up being the same by the next day.

However, there are two things to consider aside from comparing calories from different foods:

1. The nutritional value of the food
2. The speed of digestion

Calories from Bad Carbs: Refined Flour and Sugar

We're referring to easily digested, starchy carbs such as white bread, pasta, potatoes, donuts, or french fries. The quick digestion causes a rapid spike in blood sugar in comparison to calories from other foods.

The rapid spike in glucose also causes a rapid surge in your body's insulin, which controls blood sugar. By the way, this is one reason why overweight people end up with diabetes.

Next, the glucose gets absorbed into your muscles, as glycogen, and then immediately stored as fat afterwards. To add insult to injury, your body starts sending out hunger signals, and guess what....

You end up eating again!

Eating simple, refined carbs and sugars can make you fat right away, because they digest too fast and leave you feeling tired and hungry again.

Calories from Saturated Fat

As you probably know, the Atkins diet promotes fatty foods that are high in protein too, but eliminates carbs altogether. While this is partially a good idea since you're at least cutting out the 'bad carbs', there's one thing you have to keep in mind:

Eating a diet loaded with fatty foods such as bacon, sausage, and other red meats will have a terrible toll on your health, even if you are losing pounds from the slowly digestive Atkins diet. If you want to die of a heart attack early in life or develop heart disease, this would be the diet for you.

In all fairness, Atkins was partially right with his weight loss plan, in regards to cutting out the bad carbs.

The Best Strategy

For weight loss and optimal health, the best strategy would be to avoid fatty foods and eat a diet that consists of only the right kinds of fats and carbs - whole grain products, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, lean poultry and fish, and basically everything in the 'Mr. Healthy Diet Guidelines'.

The slow digestive quality of these complex carbohydrates help keep you full, and since you're not pigging out on saturated fat, you're also keeping your body healthy.

For further reference, be sure to check out the articles listed below.


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